The Saga of Headphone- Ep. VI- The Return of the Headphones

Well, I finally did it. I mad my way to Akiba in search of an upgrade’. Hearing the Naim system was part of it all. What I had was just too ‘heavy’ for the classical and electronica music I like. I‘d bought a small collection of very reasonably-priced pieces at Disk Union and was enjoying them, but just wanted… more. More treble, more detail, which meant that
upgraditis had struck again.
Whilst there, I saw some interesting curios… such as a portable Dolby Headphone/ Prologic II converter from Victor JVC. In case you don’t know, Dolby Headphone works by bringing the sound out into a larger ‘soundfield’ than the ‘in your head’ feeling a lot of headphones have. It does this by some complex processing of ‘crossfield’, altering how the sounds reach your ears, much the way the newer Dolby Virtual speaker works. Of course, some headphones can already do this, to a degree, but not all of them. Trying it out with my earbuds, with the DVD on display made it much more enjoyable, almost like being in a cinema. The footsteps, sword-slashes and explosions all seemed to be taking place where I saw
them on the screen. The bass was also a lot more resonant.
I also tried it with some music on my phone (using the analogue-in feature) and found it just a little better than without it. Comparing to my phone’s inbuilt ‘surround-bass’ dsp, it wasn’t a whole lot better. Maybe it works at it’s best with a true 5.1 source, where it really did sound like speakers around me. For 10,000 yen, that’s a hard deal to beat.
Another curiosity was the series of ‘Sound Warrior’ tube amps. Not too expensive, and with a choice of matching speakers and one even with a built-in CD player, they certainly warm up the sound. Their glowing tubes will also do the same for your hands, if you put them close enough, hence the ‘warning’ labels on their protective grill!Aside from all this browsing, I actually did get something… exactly what will be revealed shortly…

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